Australian skipper Pat Cummins has returned home from the ongoing tour of India due to a serious family health issue following his side’s six-wicket loss in the second Test at Delhi.
As per ESPNCricinfo, Cummins will be returning to Sydney for a few days but will return to India for preparations ahead of the third Test, which will be held in Indore from March 1 onwards. Australia is currently 2-0 down in the four-match series. In the second Test, Cummins played as the sole quick in the playing eleven but did not bowl in the fourth innings of the match, with India chased down a modest target of 115 with the loss of just 4 wickets and over seven sessions to spare.
Though Cummins is expected to return in time for the third Test, vice-captain Steve Smith will lead the side if the regular red-ball skipper is unable to take the field for the Indore Test.
Smith has led Australia on two occasions after Cummins was named the red-ball skipper of the Baggy Greens in late 2021. The first of these two occasions was during the 2021-22 Ashes series, when Cummins was forced to miss the second Test because of a close Covid contact.
He also missed last year’s day-night Test against West Indies after sustaining a quad injury, with Smith stepping up to lead the side in his absence.
Australia is likely to have a fast bowling cover, if needed, even as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood are striving to regain full fitness for the Indore Test. Scott Boland and Lance Morris are also still there with the squad. All-rounder Cameron Green is also set to be available for the third Test after missing the first two Tests due to a fractured finger.
Cummins did hint at further changes in the squad as the visitors try to find their way back into the series.
Veteran opener David Warner’s fitness will also be monitored closely after he was ruled out of the Delhi Test due to a concussion. He also suffered a hairline fracture in his left elbow in the first innings after being struck by fast bowler Mohammed Siraj.
Spinner Todd Murphy, who had a dream debut in the first Test with a seven-for, is also battling a minor side strain. He bowled a total of 24.4 overs in the Delhi Test, including 6.4 overs in the fourth innings.
Leggie Mitchell Swepson could also return after flying home ahead of the second Test for the birth of his first child.
Also the ODI skipper, Cummins will lead the Aussies in the three-match ODI series that will follow the Tests.
However, there’s a chance of him rested in the three-match series due to workload concerns.